Question:

Is there any way to avoid common puppy health problems?

Feed Your Puppy Right to Avoid Common Puppy Health Problems

One of the worst things someone can do is to bring home a tiny new puppy and change its food. Unfortunately, many people do just that, especially if the puppy is eating an inferior brand of kibble. With its small body, any change in diet is simply too much for the puppy to handle, which leads to one of the most common puppy health problems - diarrhea.

If your puppy gets into food belonging to your adult dog or your cat or gets a hold of some people food, he or she will probably develop diarrhea. This condition can be quite serious, since it is easy for such a tiny animal to get dehydrated. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your puppy has loose stools. If you can't get a hold of your veterinarian, you should:

  • Take a look at the stool. If there is blood in it, take your puppy to an emergency veterinary hospital. If you wait for the vet's office to reopen, you are taking a chance that your puppy may not make it.
  • Keep your puppy hydrated. While some water is a good idea, you should consider something that has some nutritional benefit as well, such as electrolytes or chicken broth.
  • Feed a very bland diet of broth and rice until the puppy is stabilized. You should reintroduce food very gradually to avoid having the puppy suffer a relapse.

Avoid Common Puppy Health Problems With Preventative Medicine

People line up to get flu shots every year to avoid getting sick. You can avoid common puppy health problems with preventative medicine, too. To be sure your puppy doesn't become ill from a virus that is easily prevented, you should:

  • Ask the breeder about vaccination records before buying the puppy. Be sure the puppy received at least the first DHLPP shot in the series. (A DHLPP shot is a combination injection that protects against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza and parvovirus.)
  • Take the puppy directly to the veterinarian's office for a well puppy check and set up a vaccination schedule. Your vet should give your puppy a series of DHLPP shots over the next few weeks, a Bordetella shot and a Rabies shot.

  • Make sure you don't miss any appointments for your puppy's shot appointments. While the costs do add up, they are much smaller than the cost of treating a sick puppy and the money spent is the least of the heartbreak you could face. A puppy with distemper or parvo often does not recover and the veterinary staff is often as devastated as the owners when their fight to save the puppy ends in a tragic loss of life.

Puppy Frequently Asked Questions

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